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Old 12-27-2011, 12:00 AM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
682 posts, read 779,546 times
Reputation: 547

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Hello,

My wife and I are refinishing our hardwood floors. We finished all of the sanding for the dining room and there are still some stains that are showing but we can live with them, unless somebody has any suggestions on how to get them out or at least lighten them. I think my sanding job looks very thorough and even, but i am concerned about what may pop up once a finish is put on the floor. I have read many stories of people thinking they did a great job and once they put a finish on, it looks terrible. So I guess, is there any particular type of finish that will show the least amount of flaws? We have an old house (1920s) and are okay with having rather "antique" floors (age/"character"), but im afraid there will be a bunch of imperfections that will pop out once the finish is put on. We would like a little bit darker floor, but dont want to take the risk of staining.

Any suggestions on what type of finish would be best for us to use would be helpful, any advice on this process really. We really are intent on doing it ourselves due to money constaints, and were just stuck on what finish because theres so many positives and negatives to each.
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Old 12-27-2011, 05:00 AM
 
23,271 posts, read 17,639,241 times
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You can try to lighten stains with bleach but I didn't have much luck with it myself, I had one spot on the floor that had turned black and some nail holes right in the middle with black edges and someone had filled with white wood putty to make them stand out even more!

I ended up using small dremel to ream the holes out and used a colored wood putty. Once stained they are even hard to find knowing they are there. The stain will hide a lot of stuff.

As far as the clear goes be sure to use a water based product, it's lot easier to get really nice finish.

People that do this themselves that end up with poor results is a lot of times because of poor sanding job. It may look good without stain or finish but once you get the finish on those imperfections stick out like a sore thumb. What did you use for final sanding? I'd strongly suggest really large orbital sander from rental place.
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
3,987 posts, read 3,436,746 times
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I disagree on the water based product. While it is a lot faster due to shorter dry times, you'll never get the rich glossy finish you would get from an oil-based product. I did my floors a couple years ago, and will be redoing them with oil once I figure out a way to keep the 5 and 7 year old off of them for a while.

As for the sanding job, the trick I used to make sure I did a good job was to set a light source on the floor at one end of the room and lie down on the opposite side so I could look across it. Any imperfections in the sanding will show up this way.

Probably going to be stuck with the dark stains, the only way I know of to get them out is with wood bleach, and it's extremely tricky to time it right and get it even close to the color of the rest of the wood. We have a few stains in ours, but I chalk it up to character and move on.
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: United States
220 posts, read 52,912 times
Reputation: 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobias C View Post
Hello,

My wife and I are refinishing our hardwood floors. We finished all of the sanding for the dining room and there are still some stains that are showing but we can live with them, unless somebody has any suggestions on how to get them out or at least lighten them. I think my sanding job looks very thorough and even, but i am concerned about what may pop up once a finish is put on the floor. I have read many stories of people thinking they did a great job and once they put a finish on, it looks terrible. So I guess, is there any particular type of finish that will show the least amount of flaws? We have an old house (1920s) and are okay with having rather "antique" floors (age/"character"), but im afraid there will be a bunch of imperfections that will pop out once the finish is put on. We would like a little bit darker floor, but dont want to take the risk of staining.

Any suggestions on what type of finish would be best for us to use would be helpful, any advice on this process really. We really are intent on doing it ourselves due to money constaints, and were just stuck on what finish because theres so many positives and negatives to each.
Did you use a 4-head random-orbital sander? Those bad boys leave a REALLY nice, smooth finished product. Also, I assume you removed the quarter-round in order to get closer to the base trim?

At this point, the first thing I'd do is vacuum the floor several times, then use a tack cloth to get every particle of dust possible off the floor.

Next step is to stain it. I'm betting you have oak floors, right? My favorite stain on oak floors is "natural." It doesn't really darken the wood, but does even the color. You can apply the stain with a brush or a rag. Let it soak in for a bit before rubbing off the excess with a cloth.

Some people do, and some people don't use a Sanding Sealer at this point. Mostly it's used on softer wood, such as pine. Also, professionals debate whether it should be applied before or after staining. If you do use it, your stain will probably remain a bit more uniform, though a light stain will be less noticeable. Personally, I do not use Sanding Sealer on oak floors.

For a poly finish, use an oil-based poly. It takes longer to dry than water based, but I personally believe it is a superior product. I like Cabot brand products. They sell a "Super Clear Satin" wipe-on polyurethane that is really good. You can also get it in High Gloss, if that's your finish preference. Use at least 2 coats, preferably 3.


*Remember - do NOT throw your used rags in a pile. They can self-combust!

I think you're going to be very happy with your floor!
#8096 Super Clear Satin
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:38 AM
 
23,271 posts, read 17,639,241 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimRom View Post
I disagree on the water based product. While it is a lot faster due to shorter dry times, you'll never get the rich glossy finish you would get from an oil-based product.
Was never a big fan of the glossy look and I'm quite satisfied with the semi gloss finish we have. Having said that my advice is based on how easy it is to apply compared to oil base. It's very easy to get bubble free super smooth finish. Another benefit is not having to smell it for weeks, water based isn't odor free but it's nothing compared to oil based.
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:42 AM
 
23,271 posts, read 17,639,241 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBanson View Post

*Remember - do NOT throw your used rags in a pile. They can self-combust!
I actually know someone that had a house fire that happened too. They were in the garbage under an outside roof and ended up catching the house on fire, not exactly sure what it was they were using.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Greeley CO, and Bend Or.
874 posts, read 1,118,658 times
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My daughter just finished theirs, the only thing they wree a little disappointed in was the stain. Go as light as possible. It will be darker than you think. Even clear will darken it.

Johnbanson is giving sound advice.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
1,518 posts, read 3,336,921 times
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We just went with the color that the ply gave the floor. We used oil based and it came out a kind of amber, golden look. Personally I am not a fan of dark floors even though that’s the trend now. I think you can see all the dust and even the finest of scratches will show up way more on darker floors. I find that if you apply mineral spirits to the floor it will "darken" it temporarily until it dries and you should be able to get an idea of how your finshed floor will look. The wet spirits highlight any flaws, etc…
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 32,425,087 times
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They make a stain called "natural" or smething simlar. It does not change the color of the wood, but it evens it out a bit. It will probably make the water spots show more. Use a pre-stian conditioner. Regardless of people saying that you do not need it. Use it. It makes a big difference. Helps keep the stain even. If you do not use at elast "natural" your floors will come out basically white.

The water based poly is easier to apply. It does nto turn yellow in sunlight (some people like the yellowing effct, some do not). It does nto smell bad (in most people's opinion) and it dries really really fast. (A few hours compared to several days.). Water base needs a lot more coats than oil base (like 4-5 (I used as many asa 7 coats in some areas), compared to 1-2 for oil base). Oil base still holds up a little better/longer, but not that much if you use lots of coats of waterbase. Water base is easier to touch up, but none of them are easy.

With water based poly I could put a coat on in one room in a few minutes. We woudl let it dry for several hours and then put mildly abrasive pads in the doorways. Whenever someone walked through, we woudl stand on a pad and shuffle around the room a bit. In this way, we sanded the finsih between coats. It came out great. Although yu need a lot of coats, for DIY it is great becuase you cna do a couple of coats each weekend, but it only takes an hour or less and then you cna go do something else. OIl base needs a lot of time to dry and it smells. It is hard to live in the house if you are using oil base.

Water base poly is available in gloss, santin, and some brands offer high gloss if you want that look. I have only seen oil base in glossy finish. If they make a satin finsih oil base, I have not been able to find it.

There are also two part coatings. I think that they are epoxy based but I am not sure. They come in both oil and water base. They smell horribly. Once you mix the two parts, you have about an hour to get it down on the floor. It does not achieve full hardness for four or five days, but it is super super hard. Avalialble only in a gloss finish.

We used a two part product by a company called Glitsa ot Glista. I was very expensive. It held up to terrible abuse for five years, but it is getting worn down. Our kitchen floor gets really heavy abuse. (2 - 180 pound dogs jumping and sliding around, kids with boots troming through, dishes, pans and flatware begin dripped occaisioanlly, constant liqud sippls including hot liquids, heavy things on wheels rolling around. . . . loads of major abuse for a floor).

Darker floor show flaws more. It also show dirt more. Darker floors hide stains very well. You cna always darken lighter floors, but once darkened, it is almost impossible to go back (you have to san every bit of stain away and many older floors cannot take that much sanding.

If you try bleach, use wood bleach, not laundry beach. We had some luck getting water stains out with bleach. However it bleaches out the wood so you get a light spot, unless you bleach the entire floor and then stain it. A spot lightened by bleach looks worse than a water stain IMO. Worse is when the bleach lightens the wood around the stain but does nto remove the stain. Now you have something really awful looking.

IMO floors in an old house should not look new. That looks dumb and out of place. It is an old house. They should have imperfectins, uneven coloring and probably have some horozontal unevenness, chips, dings etc. If you want brand new look, there are loads of new houses empty and avialable.

Last edited by Coldjensens; 12-27-2011 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 32,425,087 times
Reputation: 11867
Rags will sefl combust with Oil based, not with water base. In fact with water base poly, you just rinse them out.
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